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Upper Mustang Trek: Day 5

Our rest via Hotel Royal Mustang was fairly comfortable, and the left over Coke that I grab from the restaurant a night earlier was frozen by just putting it next to the window. The little sip of it early morning probably not so good for our health, but it definitely feel so good! We packed our stuff and gather together in the kitchen for breakfast, and depart timely at around 8 AM.

We passing by the old royal palace at Ghami village again and it was a small descend down hill to cross a crystal clear river! The trail lead to a pretty decent uphill which later reward you with absolute amazing view of Ghami village and its surrounding! From the same spot as well, we can see the longest Mani wall in Upper Mustang on other side of the gorge. This was truly a great spot to take a break, after all this was the first climb we have in the early morning.

Good morning Ghami!

Passing through a wooden bridge exit from Ghami.

The river water was crystal clear!

The morning hike begin from here.

It was truly a beautiful morning for a trek.

The view becoming wide and wider as we continue to ascend the trail.

So near yet so far.

Did you a see a long wall along the road? That was the longest Mani wall in Upper Mustang.

A Stupa and the road leading to Tsarang village.

View rewarded after done the 200 meters of elevation in the early morning!

Fabian and Samantha with gorgeous view of Ghami village and its surrounding.

Mandy, slowly but steadily reach the view point as well.

Random villager standing and enjoy the priceless view.

I love this view very much!

Fabian also enjoy the view quite a lot here.

Even our guides and porters were excited like kids here!

Casual team photo at this beautiful spot.

We continue on our path towards Dhakmar and from far we already get attracted by the absolute gorgeous cliff along the trek, which was red in colors! The colors, under the red hot sun, looked exactly like blood stain splashed on the mountain instead. This theory seem to be true based on local legendary story, which we will get to know later.

We have a short break at New Tenzin Hotel & Guest House, and a old local lady came over to promote us her collection of Ammonite, which was fossil from marine animals that they collected from the river bank all the way in Upper Mustang. You might be curious, how in the world these Ammonite exists in the place which situated 3000 or more meters above sea level? This was indeed a scientific proof that the Himalayas was indeed once under water, probably many centuries ago, even before dinosaur ages. As for the Hindus, these Ammonite was believed to be one of many forms of Lord Vishnu, hence they keep these fossil and their worship room and worship it. After various negotiation with Kumar act as our translator, I manage to get myself 3 of these unique souvenir for 1600 rupee.

Saw the mountain with striking red colors?

Whole mountain range was having this super unique appearance towards Dhakmar village!

Stupa on the way to the village.

Samantha rushing fast for more opportunity to snap photos while waiting for us.

Observation from a friend, the shape of the mountain look like a human feet!

Pairing with the rare greenery ground here, it make the view magnificent.

Frozen water along the walk.

Truly unreal scenery, it was like painted for purpose!

No caption needed, the view was superb indeed.

We were more than happy spending time here to enjoy these wonders.

The shape, the colors, truly a gift from the nature world to Upper Mustang.

There was also some man made cave very high up the hill in Dhakmar.

Entering village of Dhakmar.

The route that lead to Tsarang village, that wasn't our direction though.

Break time in New Tenzin Hotel & Guesthouse, with everyone get their personal selection of Ammonite here!

Mandy with the Ammonite she had choosen, and the lady that sold us those.

The one I get for myself, eventually become my treasure!

Time to continue with the second half of the journey today.

Take a deep breathe, and get prepared well, there will be a tough elevation waiting for us. After exit from Dhakmar village, it was a strenuous climb with countless turns and up hill under extreme hot sun. It got flatter after the massive hike but still a continuous ascend until we came to Mui La, standing high at 4170 Meters above sea level. The elevation was so high up, we even able to see Tsarang village which suppose to be nearly 7 KM away! Ghar Gompa was seen from some distance away as we continue to move our feet, and miraculously the surrounding seem to be greener with lots of atmosphere of life, compare to most of the wasteland we went through since beginning of the trek.

The river that flowing through the village, and yet another range of unique mountain range.

Passing through village of Dhakmar.

Beginning of a tough hike today.

Waving bye to Dhakmar village.

It shocked me seeing this scenery, but later on it was confirmed that she was just laying there for a warm rest. Phew!

None stop of elevation at all, it was just up up and up.

Saw the prayer flag also mean that we almost reach the pass!

Keep it up everyone, time to get some rest after the hard work!

A peek back towards the trail that we just came across, and we were being rewarded by yet another superior view!

Initially I thought the pass was Mui La, but I was wrong, the elevation did not stop from there.

Another walk on the sky, the snow mountain peak at the background was unreal!

Finally, we were at Mui La standing 4170 meters above sea level!

The village of Marang and its surrounding in the middle of the photo.

Combination of greenery and frozen ground.

From high up here, we can see both Saukre and Marang village.

Ghar Gompa from some distance away.

This photo capture the view of Saukre, Marang, as well as Tsarang village which was nearly 7 KM away from where we stand!

Comfortable greenery scenery close to Ghar Gompa.

Finally we reach Ghar Gompa!

Ghar Gompa was our lunch spot and we were expect to reach Lo Manthang on the next day. Initially, the plan was to overnight at Tsarang and depart to Lo Manthang using the motorize path. However, after we have a talk with two German ladies we met in the Gompa during lunch, they just return from Lo Manthang by passing through Chogo La and can't help asking us not to miss this beautiful path! Immediately we knew that we want to follow her suggestion, and try to adjust our itinerary a little bit for that. We think of possibility of getting a night stay at nearby village such as Saukre or Marang instead of Tsarang which will be too far from the trail to Chogo La. Suddenly, Samantha raise a suggestion, why not we have a stay at this oldest Tibetian monastery in Upper Mustang instead? Well, definitely a great idea!

Kumar helped to share with plan with the keeper of the temple, and after various effort, he allow us to stay at a meditation hall on one of the building opposite of the main temple. There was one huge Shakyamuni Buddha statue inside the hall, and countless Buddhist scriptures on the same racks. Without a doubt, having a opportunity to have a rest here tonight will be an experience of a life time for sure!

The distance covered today was around 9 KM, with one tough hike towards Mui La.

Countless prayer flags scattered at the entrance to Ghar Gompa.

The road to the main temple.

One of the small temple along the way.

Random corner in Ghar Gompa.

Huge prayer wheel in one of the temple.

The structure with red brick was the main temple here in Ghar Gompa.

The best legendary story of the Ghar Gompa.

Ghar Gompa's main temple.

Hey, don't block my view!

Get into the truly historical building to grab our lunch.

Wai Wai soup for my lunch in Ghar Gompa, nice!

The meditation at second floor here, was the place we going to spend the night today.

Kumar, Ramzee, and Buddha, helping to clean it before we setting up the bedding.

Random view away from Ghar Gompa.

Samantha and Mandy exploring the surrounding area of Ghar Gompa.

Open area just in front of the main temple.

Beautiful Shakyamuni Buddha statue in the meditation hall, as well as Buddhist scriptures, on the rack.

Thanks guy for the help to clean the hall for us!

Closer view of the statue, spiritually it did bring a peaceful aura to the hall.

Wider look at the place we going to spend our night on.

At around 6 PM, the keeper of the temple invited us for prayer at the main praying hall, and we were so amaze by the historical feeling and the aura spreading on the air here. Keeper of the temple, with the translation help by Kumar and Ramzee, started to share us the best legendary story here in Upper Mustang:

Samye Gompa, which happened to be first Buddhist Monastery build in Tibet, but the construction during 8th century facing serious threat when all the construction effort on the day, will be destroyed by a demon during the night. In Lama's dream, he saw that Guru Rinpoche will be able to help them to solve the problem. He then realize that the magical power of the demon was the reason behind the destruction, and the solution to it was to build Ghar Gompa in Mustang first, then only the construction of Samye Gompa will be successful back in Tibet. Guru Rinpoche then encounter the demon at Mustang and chase it all the way to Ghami village which he manage to injure the demon, with it's intestine drop here and its blood scattered along the mountain nearby! You guess it right, the legend believe that the longest Mani wall in Upper Mustang was build from the demon's intestine, and the red colors mountain along Dhakmar village was the blood of the demon!

The demon was later killed here, where Ghar Gompa was situated today, with its liver and heart placed at Gompa's underground, while hands, legs, and bodies, scattered into 108 pieces around the surrounding area with a Stupa build on top of each of the pieces. Last but not least, the demon's head was located at one of the Stupa situated highest at the back of Ghar Gompa.

The story ended with Samye Gompa was finally able complete its construction successfully, and Ghar Gompa in fact was the oldest Tibetian Buddhist temple in Upper Mustang, but in the world as well!

This was definitely one of the greatest legendary story I have ever witness!

We gather in kitchen awaiting Kumar's fried rice as our dinner, after visiting the main praying hall and get to know the best known legend about Upper Mustang.

The fried rice was extremely delicious!

Ghar Gompa - Nepal

November 2018

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